Green Party Annual Meeting – Speaker Suggestions
The Green Party (US) Annual National Meeting is just over a month away, July 23 – 26, at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.
The schedule is still being prepared for workshops, plenaries, etc., including potential speakers. Some names have been suggested here and there including Cynthia McKinney, Rosa Clemente, David Cobb, Jesse Johnson, and Mike Gravel.
Who do you think would be a great speaker to speak at the Green Party’s Annual National Meeting in Durham, NC? What should they speak about? What are the driving issues facing the Green Party in the US right now, and who do you think can speak most effectively to those issues? Considering that the primary (and perhaps only) audience for this are the Greens that are going to the ANM, who do you think can speak to the Greens and effectively re-mobilize and re-energize the Green Political Movement in America? Who would you go to Durham, NC to see, listen to, and perhaps even talk to, if they were on the docket?
And finally, are you going to Durham, North Carlina for the National Meeting?
Sure, I’ll start since I asked the question.
First, let me state that I believe that there ought to be a standing invitation for every Green Party ticket for President and Vice President over the last 16 years. That would include Ralph Nader, Winona LaDuke, David Cobb, Pat LaMarche, Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente. These six, in my opinion, have all earned the right to take the soapbox at every Green Party ANM.
Given that, this is a list of people who I would really like to see at the podium to address specifically the Four Pillars of the Green Party:
- Cynthia McKinney (Peace & Non-Violence) – as our most recent banner carrier, McKinney should speak to the ANM about what direction she believes the Green Party should move in, and the issues that concern her most right now. She should speak on the Palestinian issues, and speak out (stongly) on the Democrat’s Wars in the Middle East.
- Rosa Clemente (Social Justice) – I am very fond of Rosa, and I think she ought to be the Green Party’s resident motivational speaker. She is powerful and inspiring and should be given a featured slot.
- David Korten (Ecological Wisdom) – Author of “When Corporations Rule the World”, “The Great Turning”, and most recently “Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth”, Korten may not be a Green Party member (that I know of) but he speaks to our issues and has a very powerful vision for local economies and Green economies that can appeal to the majority of Americans. All Greens should read “Agenda…”, and hear him speak on transforming our society from the current “Empire” to “Earth Community”.
- Richard Winger (Grassroots Democracy) – Perhaps not a grassroots activist, but Richard Winger, the editor of Ballot Access News, is the national expert on restrictive ballot access issues that keep third parties at a handicap in the American political system. Winger could speak to the current trends in Ballot Access, electoral movements such as the National Popular Vote movement and the notorious “Top Two Primary” system that is in play in Washington and on a future ballot in California.
Some other speakers that I would like to see at the podium:
- Kathy Kelly – Coordinator for Voices for Creative Non-Violence, Kathy Kelly was one of the most engaging speakers at the 2008 Green Party Presidential Nominating Convention in Chicago. She is an outspoken peace activist, helped initiate the Voices in the Wilderness campaign to end UN sactions against Iraq and create an international human shield prior to the Bombing and Invasion of Iraq. I really like Kathy Kelly.
- Michael Moore – Yes, Moore irritated Greens in 2004 by backing John Kerry for President, and by getting on his knees and begging Ralph Nader not to run for President on Live TV, however he is one of the biggest public critics of our broken health care system and advocate for a single payer universal health care system.
- Mayor Bill Bell – I believe that it is a courtesy to invite the Mayor of the city that a convention or large meeting like this to speak to the convention. Durham Mayor Bill Bell is the Chief Operating Officer of UDI Community Development Corporation, Inc, a non-profit with the mission to raise the economic, educational and social welfare of the underpriviledged of Durham.
- Matt Gonzalez – Honestly I just really like Matt Gonzalez. I had a beer with him a few years ago at Fighting Bob Fest in Baraboo, WI and later heard him rally the crowd of progressives on Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). He is an engaging and inspiring speaker.
- Jesse Johnson – 2008 Presidential Candidate and Chair of the West Virginia Mountain Party. The mountain top removal mining practices plagueing West Virginia are being continued as “business as usual” by the Obama administration and this must stop. This form of coal mining is an environmental catastrophe and public health issue. Jesse Johnson has been in front on this fight, I’d like to hear him speak about that.
- Reverend Billy Talen – …of the Church of Stop Shopping, Rev. Billy is a current Green Party candidate for a very high profile office – Mayor of New York City. Exciting, engaging, and loving public speaking, Reverend Billy should be a “must invite” to the ANM.
- Rebekah Kennedy – this Arkansas Lawyer earned over 20% of the vote for U.S. Senate in Arkansas, the highest percentage gained in a race for Senate by any Green Party candidate prior. Kennedy was helped by the fact that there was no Republican on the ballot, but she also adds a strong 2006 bid for Attorney General in Arkansas where she won 4.4% of the vote.
Thtat’s enough for now. Who would YOU like to see speaking in Durham, NC?